In his siddur, Rav Sa`adya haGaon (Rasa"g) goes through the entire service for havdalah and never mentions besamim. He also doesn't mention it when discussing havdalah for Mossa'ei Yom Tov and what is not used - as opposed to Mossa'ei Shabboth. There he only mentions that we do not use fire; again, no mention of spices.

Question: Is there a source that does not require the smelling of spices during havdalah?

  • The gemara says you do. – sam Oct 27 '13 at 20:57
  • 2
    Obviously, it does. I understand this otherwise I would not be asking this question. Additionally, Rasa"g also knew the Gemara. However, he nevertheless DOES NOT MENTION IT. My question is why he doesn't. His book was written for the common person - without sources - in order to enable the common, Arabic-speaking Jew to learn and know the basic laws of tefillah, yomim tovim, berakhoth, et al. So...why does he fail to mention something which is otherwise central and basic to Havdalah. That is, unless he was holding by a different opinion in another source. Do you understand? – user3342 Oct 27 '13 at 21:54
  • I think sam might have been suggesting that sourcing the Talmud that requires spices would provide the question with more context. – Baby Seal Jun 16 '14 at 13:47

Rav Sternbuch in Tshuvos Vnhanhagos 2:134 brings down that there were gedolim who didn't do besamim by havadalah because of Hanaah(pleasure) problems for bracha.This also comes from the gemara in brachos 53 and Rishonim.

  • Okay...can you elaborate a little? What text of b.Berakhoth 53 are we talking about? Which Rishonim and where in their respective works? Thanks. – user3342 Oct 27 '13 at 22:29
  • 1
    Rav Yehudah says one does not have to exert himself for a candle but besamim is not mentioned ,see Rashba and Rosh who interpr a kal vchomer of not exerting themselves to find besamim. – sam Oct 27 '13 at 22:37
  • So, am I to understand that he may not have mentioned it since the idea of having spices was not very common due to the expense of such spices in the ancient world? I.e. the majority of the community (in the days of Rasa"g) could not reasonably bear the halakhah de-rabbanan - which, in turn, nullifies it (at least in many cases)? – user3342 Oct 27 '13 at 23:06
  • 1
    what hanaah problems? – ertert3terte Oct 27 '13 at 23:54
  • 1
    Smell not enjoyable enough,see the tshuva – sam Oct 28 '13 at 0:12

You must log in to answer this question.